Jonathan Taylor has been selected by the Indianapolis colts with the No. 41st pick in the 2020 NFL Draft after trading up with the Browns. They already have a productive starter in Marlon Mack, but now Taylor could give the them a dangerous combination out of the backfield.
One of the best college football players over the last three seasons, Taylor brings stats from his time at Wisconsin that jump off the page. He ran the ball 926 times for 6,174 yards and 50 touchdowns, while adding 42 catches for 407 yards and five touchdowns as a receiver, with all of those receiving touchdowns coming last year. He became only the second player in NCAA history to have back-to-back 2,000 yard rushing campaigns and the first to have three straight seasons with 1,900 yards rushing.
Taylor is one of the most accomplished college running backs in history and with ability between the tackles and enough wiggle and speed to break runs outside, he shouldn’t have any trouble picking up yards on the ground. He will need to secure the ball better and improve as a blocker and receiver, but he has the beginnings of being a competent receiver and pass protector.
Fantasy football impact
Mack appeared poised to have a breakout year, but having Taylor in the picture could hinder both their levels of production. The Colts were a top 10 rushing team in 2019 but have Philip Rivers under center now. Are they looking to be more of a passing team now that they’ve mad an upgrade at quarterback? I think we should expect fewer carries from Mack in 2020, but don’t expect Taylor to overtake the incumbent. Mack should still get significantly more touches than the rookie.
His big usage in college will turn some off of Taylor but number of rushing attempts in college hasn’t shown to be a big factor in how how well or how long a running back has success in the NFL. He’s not a lock for a transcendent NFL career but if he can stay healthy, he is a lock for a long and successful one.